How To Know when to Capitalize Job Titles

Since there are so many of them, it’s hard to master them all.Like the rest of English, the rules for capitalizing job titles can be difficult to understand.Most of the time, there isn’t a call for uppercase.You can be confident that you can write any job title correctly if you take a little time to learn the few cases in which it applies.

Step 1: Proper nouns should be capitalized.

This is a general rule.It means that you should use the unique names of specific entities but not the common ones.Most job titles are not capitalized.A title that refers to an official, one-of-a-kind position should be capitalized.

Step 2: Job titles precede someone’s name.

If a title precedes a name and refers to a specific person, it should be capitalized.That’s right, “reverend James” and “Doctor Smith” should be the same.This rule only applies to titles that have been officially awarded.You wouldn’t capitalize titles like “Artist,” “race car driver,” or “musician” as in, “This song is performed by musician Louis Armstrong.”If that is the official title of the Director of Marketing, it is correct.If you only describe her position, she wouldn’t get her job.

Step 3: Don’t sign your name if you have job titles.

Your job title should be capitalized at the end of messages.Your signature line should read “John Smith, Editor in Chief.”

Step 4: When used in lieu of a name, capitalize titles.

If you are using a person’s title as a replacement for their name, you should take advantage of it.For example: “Can you make it to my graduation, Dad?”, “With all due respect, General, I disagree,” or “I saw the Queen of England ride by today.”

Step 5: You can use endowed positions.

One-of-a-kind titles of jobs like endowed professorships are proper nouns.When the job titles are written after a person’s name, they should be capitalized.Georgina Bourassa taught for five years.

Step 6: When exploiting, use the title case.

The first, last, and principal words in a title should always be capitalized.For example, the associate director of research and development for the cancer unit at Pharmacon should be:

Step 7: Don’t use unofficial titles or common names.

If the job title refers to a profession or class of jobs rather than a specific or official title, do not put it in uppercase.The job titles “Janice Buckley is a microbiologist” and “Here are some tips from painter John Green” should not be capitalized.

Step 8: Don’t take a title on its own.

It should not be capitalized if a title is used as a stand alone word in a sentence.This is the most common use-case for job titles, which means that they don’t need to be uppercase.For example, “John, who is a salesperson, works at the dealership,” or “The clerk helped us with the documents.”

Step 9: When the title comes after a person’s name, use the lower case.

This is true if the title is specific, official or unofficial.Jesse Roberts, editor in chief at Grammar Central hates typos, or Helena Briggs, a social worker with the National Health Service, is handling the case.

Step 10: Use job titles as headings in your resume.

If you have held an official position in the experience section of your resume, you should take advantage of it.”Director of Human Resources” is an example.

Step 11: The body text of your resume should not include job titles.

If a job title is part of a sentence or paragraph on your resume, do not use uppercase.As director of human resources, I increased recruitment and decreased time-to-hire.

Step 12: In cover letters, be consistent with your job titles.

There is no consensus on whether or not to use specific, official job titles in your cover letter.To be consistent throughout the text, you have to decide which way to go.If you apply for the Assistant Professor of American Literature position at Bard College, you should include the other job titles in your cover letter.The best way to help you make a decision is to look at the company’s job listing and website to see if the job titles appear within sentences or not.You should too if they do.You should never use a general job title in a sentence, such as, “I have more than twenty years of experience as a director of human resources and am looking for a position in the nonprofit sector.”